The Russian trial of WNBA star Brittney Griner will continue Tuesday as US officials attempt to negotiate a prisoner swap for her release.
The scheduled appearance in a courtroom near Moscow will mark Griner's seventh hearing as Russian prosecutors accuse her of trying to smuggle less than 1 gram of cannabis oil in her luggage while traveling through a Moscow airport in February.
During the trial, Griner has testified that she has a doctor's prescription for medical cannabis and had no intention of bringing the drug into Russia. Following her detention in February, she was tested for drugs and was clean, her lawyers previously said.
Griner pleaded guilty last month, a decision her lawyers hope the court will take into account and potentially result in a less severe sentence. She faces up to 10 years in prison.
The proposed prisoner swap: Amid this pressure and after months of internal debate, the Biden administration proposed a prisoner swap with Russia, offering to release a convicted Russian arms trafficker in exchange for Griner and another American detainee, Paul Whelan, people briefed on the matter told CNN.
Russian officials countered the US offer, according to multiple sources familiar with the discussions, requesting that in addition to arms dealer Viktor Bout, the US also include a convicted murderer who was formerly a colonel with the Russian spy agency, Vadim Krasikov.
US officials did not accept the request as a legitimate counteroffer, the sources told CNN, in part because the proposal was sent through an informal FSB backchannel. Krasikov's release would also be complicated because he is currently in German custody.
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